Should I muzzle my puppy?

Got a new, young, furry love in your life? This is the place for you to ask all of your questions-big or small! Just remember that you are receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a vet or behaviorist! Most important is to remember to have fun with your new fur baby.

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Barked: Sun Nov 18, '12 4:45pm PST 
I cannot take him out into the yard to potty without telling him no and prying something out of his mouth at LEAST 12-15 times. I take him out on a leash to have a little more control but that doesn't help much. Every two or three steps he reaches down and grabs something.. doesn't matter what it is. He eats rocks, dirt, leaves, wood chips, etc. My backyard has wood chips instead of grass so it's a nightmare. And he swallows everything.

I don't know what to do. He has to be able to walk around and sniff a bit so he can do his business, and while I have him leashed I feel like sometimes I am preventing him from doing that while I am focused on the things he continuously picks up.

Help? cry
Mocha Chino

I need to go- outside! I need- to go in!
Barked: Sun Nov 18, '12 5:59pm PST 
Hi Sun! wave
I had the same problem when I was younger, so what my mom did was that he taught me this cool trick called leave it! What she did was hold a very delicious treat in her hand, one that I would go mental over, and she held the treat in the tight fist and put it in front of my face, so I can smell it and know it was there. Because it smelled soooo good, I kept liking her hand and gnawing it a bit, but eventually I gave up. And guess what! When I gave up, she said the word leave it and gave the treat! It was soooo goooood! My mom and I did this for a while until she was able to hold the treat in her hand (not closed) and tell me to leave it and I would just stare at it, waiting for her to say take it, then I get it! Yum! Now, if food falls to the floor I will refuse to pick it up, until my mom says take it!
For your problem I would recommend you trying to learn how to leave it and take it, because trust me Bacon Strips taste so much better than gross woodchips. Also when your mom takes you outside and you are still a little rusty on your trick, make sure when he says leave it, expect a more tastier treat. For example, say you are outude and you see an appetizing rock, so you run over to it and begin to pick it up, but your mom says leave it, but if you do not listen, make sure your mom shows you better treat,so you learn that leave it means more happiness! I hoped this helped!way to go
P.S. If worse comes to worse, you could muzzle your puppy, but I do not recommend it unless, training fails. dog walk
Mishka &- Luna

Barked: Wed Nov 21, '12 2:09am PST 
You have to realize the thing about puppies. Puppies discover things in their world by using their mouth. Like the previous poster has recommended. Start training the leave it command. What I did with my dogs and the puppies I had taken in was put a tasty treat that they couldn't resist in my hand. I would put my hand with the treat in it at eye and nose level of the puppy/my dogs and every time they would go for it or try to take it, I would pull my hand away and introduce the leave it command. After several attempts of taking the treat it and hearing the repeated command "leave it" they started waiting till i gave them the "take it" command. After they became accustom to the "leave it" command. I would put that tasty treat in front of them on the floor. Every time they went for it, i would put my hand over the treat and tell them to leave it. Soon I was able to leave the treat in front of them without taking them taking the treat till I gave them the take it command. What works really well with the "leave it" command is clicker training. Buy a clicker from petsmart or petco. This command will work very effectively for you while taking your puppy outside.

I definitely recommend keeping your puppy on a leash during the potty breaks. It will keep them from getting side tracked of what they are really out there to do.

I would not muzzle the puppy as you do not want the puppy to become frantic of something that is being put over their face. You might traumatize it by introducing the muzzle too early in its life. Definitely seek out training from petsmart or petco to help you with the leave it command.


Barked: Wed Nov 21, '12 9:40pm PST 
I have tried teaching him leave it by putting the treat in my closed hand but he bites and scratches to get it. That hurts. And then if he does lose interest, he usually goes away sniffing the floor so his attention is no longer on my hand. Treating him then wouldn't accomplish anything.

This was a few weeks ago though. I think I may try again and see if I get different results.
Mishka &- Luna

Barked: Thu Nov 22, '12 12:44am PST 
Try the clicker training method. It's pretty effective. Also keep the training short and do it several times a day. Try to keep the training 5 minutes as puppies do lose interest and get distracted easily. I know all about puppies losing interest fast. I have huskies and if you don't have the huskies full attention and keep them interested in the training they will just walk away..

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Thu Nov 22, '12 9:36am PST 
There was an episode I remember from the Dog Whisperer about a dog who ate rocks. Perhaps you could find it online somehow for help. I would think muzzeling for any behavior is just a temporary measure. You need to get to the root of it and change his munching behavior altogether. Best of Luck!!!

too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Fri Nov 23, '12 8:38am PST 
" I have tried teaching him leave it by putting the treat in my closed hand but he bites and scratches to get it. That hurts. And then if he does lose interest, he usually goes away sniffing the floor so his attention is no longer on my hand. Treating him then wouldn't accomplish anything."
OK..you have the first step! As SOON as he stops sniffing/scratching at your hand..click/mark & IMMEDIATELY give a treat from your other hand...NOT the treat in your closed hand. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
He should soon learn to just ignore the one in your hand..waiting for the other treat. At that point add the verbal cue "leave it" Again..repeat, repeat, repeat.
When he is reliably leaving the treat in your closed hand, open your hand & repeat the exercise. Then place the kibble on the floor...be ready to cover it with your hand or foot.
Training takes time & consistency..but once he learns it will be helpful in many situations.

Leave It

Move or I'll- plough you down!- (lovingly)
Barked: Sat Nov 24, '12 5:36am PST 
I completely agree with what most posters on here are saying. Muzzling your puppy will not help the situation and will only stress it out, you need to address the problem and sort it out through training rather than doing something that is more convenient. The begining may be tough and it will take time, but once your pup knows the leave it command your life will be SO much easier! And you will have a happy pup, which you wouldnt have if you just muzzled it smile Keep up with the training and best of luck with it, hope you see good results soon smile

Cheese? PLEASE!
Barked: Sun Nov 25, '12 4:49am PST 
Hi Sun!!
I was fascinated with the rocks and the leaves and the twigs and all that too as a pup.
Mom tried to teach me the command 'leave it' but I was just way too excited and interested in all those smells!!!

What finally worked was patience consistancy and time.
Mommy started using the command 'uh-uh!' and that worked for me better. But even that command took some time before I began to listen to mommy.

Also when I begin to get distracted even now, mommy will remind me of why we are outside.
She will say so patiently yet firmly 'go potty!' and remind me to 'hurry up!' in a gentle reminder of a voice, and when I am really distracted, she will gently tug on my leash a little and re-direct my attention to her or give me my 'cue words' again!!

It may take some time.
Some of us pups are just more fascinated with everything!! way to go
But persistance and time and repitiion are key.

Also try having mommy clear your normal 'potty' spot of the stones, twigs, etc.
or find a potty spot where the leaves and twigs do not normally migrate too.
Sometimes we pick up on the old smells of our previous potties and that will remind us why we are there! wink

Got food? I- can be bought ya- know....
Barked: Sat Dec 8, '12 10:44am PST 
This is normal dog behavior. Your insistence on taking away the sticks, leaves, rocks, etc. may be encouraging him to swallow what he only wants to feel. Chill. Entice him with safe toys if you like.

Since your puppy is old enough, get into classes. Communication is a big deal! Training classes will teach you how to teach your puppy.
Border Collies tend to be more toy driven than food driven. Teach him to fetch, get him attached to his ball, then use it to redirect him when outdoors.

Puppies need safe things to chew!
Raw meaty bones, hooves, antlers or some other busy type chew toy is needed to keep his mouth busy.
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